Karnataka Assembly elections 2023 concluded peacefully; hung assembly predicted

Karnataka Assembly elections 2023 concluded peacefully on Wednesday, May 10th. Exit polls predict that there will be a hung assembly.

Women standing in queue to vote in Karnataka Assembly elections 2023

Photo credit: ECI

Karnataka Assembly elections 2023 ended on May 10th 2023. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), voting was largely peaceful in all 224 Assembly constituencies (ACs) in Karnataka and no repolling request has been received by it for any of the 58,545 polling stations.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) reported that the voter turnout in the Karnataka Assembly elections 2023 was nearly 70%, which is 2.36 percentage points less than the 72.36% voter turnout during the 2018 elections.

The PTI reported that the ECI will release the results of the Karnataka Assembly elections on May 13th. Incumbent Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had exhibited confidence that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will return to power in the state, which is the only one it’s in power in the southern part of India.

Apart from the BJP, the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Janata Dal (Secular) [JD(S)] were in the fray in the triangular contest. In 2018, the INC and JD(S) formed a coalition government after a hung assembly. However, the government was toppled by the BJP in mid-2019 when it weaned away elected legislators from the INC and JD(S) to increase its tally.

During the canvassing, the ECI reportedly made seizures worth Rs 3.75bn in the state. The Enforcement Directorate has reportedly attached assets worth Rs 2.88bn in Karnataka after the Model Code of Conduct was imposed. The ECI had deputed 146 expenditure observers in Karnataka, where 81 ACs have been marked expenditure sensitive.

There are a total of 224 seats in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly. To form the government, a party or coalition must have the majority figure of 113 seats in the Assembly. Exit polls, whose results are not always correct, estimated a hung assembly in Karnataka this time too, however, three out of ten of them have kept the INC ahead.

If the Karnataka Assembly elections lead to a hung assembly, then another alliance between the INC and the JD(S) may be possible. However, the BJP, its critics fear, may use its influence to wean away elected legislators again to retain power.

Prime Minister Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP president JP Nadda, Bommai, and other BJP stalwarts had taken part in the blitzkrieg canvassing of the incumbent party.

On the other hand, INC chief Mallikarjun Kharge, former party chief Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, former chief minister Siddaramaiah and state INC chief DK Shivakumar spearheaded the INC’s campaign for the Karnataka Assembly elections 2023.

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